The Major League leader in strikeouts, Chris Sale, is set to take the mound for the eighth time this season when he faces the Rays on Saturday. The Boston left-hander will put an impressive streak of six consecutive games with double-digit punchouts on the line when he toes the rubber opposite Tampa Bay lefty Blake Snell as part of a full slate, streaming live on MLB.TV.
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Here's what to watch for throughout the day (all times in ET):
American League East lefties battle in Boston: TB@BOS, 1:05 p.m.
First pitch for Saturday's contest between the Rays and Red Sox was originally scheduled for 7:10 p.m., but the teams, in collaboration with MLB, agreed to move up the start time to avoid expected inclement weather in the Boston area later in the day.
Fans will now have the opportunity to start the day by watching Sale attempt to extend his streak of 10-plus K's to seven games, which would be one shy of the career-high mark he set in 2015 with the White Sox.
On the Rays' side, Snell looks to improve on his 3.96 season ERA as he seeks his first victory of the season. The 24-year-old will also be aiming to extend his outing past five innings, which he's been unable to do since his first start of the year against the Blue Jays on April 6.
Defending champs face tough test: CHC@STL, 4:05 p.m.
The defending World Series champion Cubs are not off to the start most would have anticipated, but they are still as dangerous as any team in baseball. And with the Cardinals entering the weekend as one of the league's hottest teams, few games on Saturday's schedule are more enticing than this one between old-time rivals.
A pitching matchup between Chicago left-hander Jon Lester (1-1, 3.27 ERA) and St. Louis righty Carlos Martinez (2-3, 3.86 ERA) should only add to the intrigue.
Lester takes the mound for his eighth time this season on the heels of a season-high nine strikeouts in a no-decision against the Yankees. Martinez has posted a quality start in his past three outings.
Wild, wild West action: LAD@COL, 8:10 p.m.
The surging Dodgers attempt to gain ground in the National League West standings as they go head to head with the surprising Rockies at Coors Field.
Los Angeles left-hander Alex Wood (3-0, 2.73 ERA) returns to the hill after racking up a season-high 11 strikeouts in a win over the Pirates in his last start.
Colorado counters with left-hander Tyler Anderson (2-3, 6.69 ERA), whom the Dodgers have already beaten twice this year. Anderson, however, is coming off his best start of 2017, twirling six innings of one-run ball with 10 strikeouts in a win over the D-backs.
Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.